In the age of smarter-than-ever cell phones, Wi-Fi, teeny laptops, and any number of social networking websites right at our fingertips – it feels like we are more linked together than ever before. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; being able to connect with people instantly across the world is an amazing modern feat of technology. However, connectivity can sometimes go too far and take up more time in our lives than we realize. Some studies indicate that mobile device owners check their email every 6.5 minutes, and half of cell phone users have slept with their phone next to their bed to make sure they don’t miss any calls. Being constantly connected like this can increase stress levels and have negative health consequences if we don’t take the time to unplug.
One way that connectivity can affect us is physical. Using smart phones constantly can create stress on our bodies in the form of “text neck” and “text claw.” When we send text messages, we often change our posture – our necks bend down and we jut our heads forward, putting immense pressure on the neck and spinal column. Sending hundreds of text messages and emails a day also puts stress on our hands and tendons as we contort and overuse the muscles and ligaments in our hand and arm, which can cause physical pain. Our mental wellbeing doesn’t go unscathed either. Staying so connected to work, school, and other commitments can increase stress and anxiety, which in turn can contribute to sleeplessness, depression, irritability, and even high blood pressure. Being reachable any day at any hour makes it difficult to “unplug” and get away from those expectations and anxieties.
Taking the time to unplug regularly can do wonders for our mental and physical wellbeing. Stepping away from responsibilities and stressors for even just an hour every week can go a long way in giving our bodies and our minds a break and the chance to recover. A great way to work in some “unplugged” time is with regular therapeutic massage that can help our bodies recover and help counteract the mental and emotional strain we put on ourselves. Massage therapy can help release the tension in our necks and arms from all that texting, and it also rebalances the hormones in our bodies to reduce the levels of stress and anxiety. If you find yourself checking your email every five minutes, or using your phone as a second screen even when watching TV, consider calling Elements Massage in Glendale to book an appointment of downtime that will get you away from your responsibilities and improve your health and wellbeing.